Eli5 when a hen lays eggs, what happens to all the eggs that would make a rooster?

114 views

Eli5 when a hen lays eggs, what happens to all the eggs that would make a rooster?

In: Biology

Every time a hen lays an egg, it’s basically menstruating. Having its period. The eggs will not generally be fertilized. Most chickens are segregated, so that the roosters won’t mate with the hens.

When somebody wants to raise chicks, they’ll put the rooster(s) in with the hens so they’ll get busy. Then they let the hens sit on the eggs, which eventually hatch. Some of those chicks will be male, and if raised will become roosters.

In most factory farms, the boy chicks are killed early, because it’s not profitable to keep them. This is done after they hatch, as we can’t sex a chick before then. So to answer your question, they go the same way as the eggs that would make hens.

Are you asking specifically about fertilized eggs that are growing a rooster chick?

First off, hens only lay fertilized eggs if they breed with a rooster. So if you have a bunch of hens and no roosters, you only get unfertilized eggs which will never result in an ‘egg that would make a rooster’.

There is a separate ‘production line’ for breeding chickens (vs producing unfertilized eggs for consumption), you generally don’t mix those lines up. So on the breeding side, they generally keep a low ratio of roosters to hens. Then when eggs are fertilized, they are incubated until hatching…if its a hen it may be sold to egg-laying farms (that don’t usually have any roosters), or kept/sold for breeding *or* for meat. If it’s a rooster, they are generally sold for breeding/meat, or killed early if necessary to control the ratio of male:female chickens.

Simply put, the ‘path’ of a chicken egg depends on whether it was fertilized or not….if it was fertilized it goes a different path than the unfertilized eggs you buy in stores whether it’s a rooster or a hen, but exactly who buys it depends on if they run an egg farm (produce eggs for consumption) or a chicken farm (produce chickens for consumption).

What others said; for the egg laying kind, the chick roosters are shredded or gassed.

Nowadays there are ways to identify between male and female while still in the egg. Slowly this is gaining traction. Legislation to forbid such culling would go a long way.

See for eggsample https://www.respeggt.com/en/

So what comes first, the chicken or the egg?